Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services in collaboration with International Committee of the Red Cross organized seminar on International Humanitarian Law and Core Human Rights Guarantees on May 9, 2016. The event was attended by around 130 participants including Honorable Members of the National Parliament, Senator Sehar Kamran and MNA Phyllis Azeem, Judges and lawyers, officials from Senate and National Assembly, representatives from Ministry of Law, Ministry of Human Rights, NCSW, Federal Judicial Academy, Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan, faculty and students from QAU, Bahria University, Federal Urdu University, International Islamic University, Al-Meezan Law College, Muslim Law College, Punjab Law College, University College of Islamabad.
The event began with the recitation of Holy Quran, followed by welcome remarks by Executive Director PIPS, Mr. Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka. He emphasized the need to generate the sensitization of international humanitarian law which becomes all the more important in the conflict situation such as Pakistan has been facing in its tribal areas which has produced large number of IDPs for a considerably long time period.
Head of Delegation International Committee of the Red Cross, Mr. Reto Stocker, deliberated on the role of ICRC within the context of the International Humanitarian Law during session one. He appreciated Pakistan’s participation at the international humanitarian fora as well as the role it has played in providing support to Afghans who have been suffering due to war and conflict since decades. Whereas focusing on the implementation of Humanitarian Law through Legislative Process Regional Legal Advisor ICRC, Ms. Kirsty Welch, led the second session.
Chairman National Commission for Human Rights, Justice ® Ali Nawaz Chohan, deliberated on “The Role of International Court of Justice” during third session. In this regard, he highlighted the prospects for National Courts for the protection of core Human Rights guarantees in Pakistan. As a prelude to his talk he emphasized the need to include the international humanitarian law in the syllabus of the academies meant to train those who are directly involved in the conflict.
Session four was led by Eminent Lawyer and Former Law Minister, Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi, who spoke on the “International Humanitarian Law in Pakistan during Peace and Conflict.” Differentiating between both the legal paradigms, he pointed out that the human rights law applies during the times of peace whereas humanitarian law finds its jurisdiction during the conflict, which actually looks at the conduct of state during conflict in order to draw the lines in accordance with the law. In this context he listed out the United Nations Security Resolutions relating to counter terrorism which bind the government of Pakistan, both at federal as well as provincial level, to take action against terrorists in various parts of the country.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Barrister Zafarullah Khan, deliberated on the “Intersection between Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Pakistan” during the last session. He dispelled the notions found against the international humanitarian law on the basis of the fundamental norm of the political legal culture of Pakistan, i.e. the Constitution of Pakistan and religion on Islam. In this regard he particularly highlighted the contributions of Muslim civilization in the development of international humanitarian law. A highly interactive Q&A session followed the last session during which the audience asked a host of pertinent questions from the worthy speakers. The Seminar, which was led by PIPS Legislation Wing, ended with vote of thanks presented by Ms. Samer Awais, Director Training PIPS.